Back to Region - Ireland
For the second time in the 10 years I have been struggling to research my husband's Scranton / County Mayo ancestors I have sent a letter to a total stranger who happens to have the same surname I am researching and who lives in the same area as the ancestors did 150 years ago and it has paid off! I highly recommend it though it wouldn't work with a name that is very common in the area.
The first time I wrote to a McGreevy who still lived in the right townland in Addergoole Parish, and he called me on the phone the same week and happily gave me a lot of information and we are friends with his daughters on Facebook now, who are my husband's 3rd cousins.
Just recently I wrote to a Willis who (I thought) still lived in the Hollymount area in the parish of Robeen, and I just got a very exciting e-mail from his daughter who says her father has passed on unfortunately but she knows all about the family back to 1792! I get way more excited about these things than my husband does, but even he will be happy about this one. Especially since it only cost the postage to Ireland!
Along the same idea of writing to a stranger...I have used Facebook successfully to find some distant cousins.
I have connected via Facebook with relatives in Ireland, Italy and US. It was interesting to post photos of my 20 year old Italy trip, and have one girl respond with ''Hey, that's my grandfather in that picture!"
I also created a facebook group for all the cousins of one family branch, so they would learn of one another, have the ability to post info about the family, and share pictures.